Thursday, July 01, 2004


The opposite of love is not hate. I used to think that it was but that was confusing a symptom for the disease. No wonder the sickness never went away, no matter how I tried to make it. I was doing nothing to treat the underlying illness. Instead, I was trying to make my anger and hatred go away, but not dealing with the emotion that provided that drove the anger and hatred.

In Alcoholics Anonymous they have you do the Twelve Steps as part of being sober. The fourth and the fifth step are: made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves and admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. The idea behind this is very simple, if you do the inventory and discuss it with another human being, you gain perspective on your own life. The power is taken from these things I have done and they no longer drive or control me.

My first fourth step was filled with anger, resentments and hate. When I did the fifth step, much of it went away. Writing it on paper made these angers look silly and discussing them out loud made many of them simply vanish.

Within six months, almost all of them were back and filling my head with anxiety. I felt like AA had failed me. I had done exactly what I was told and it had not worked.

I had not dealt with the causes and conditions.

The opposite of love is fear.

Fear that I will not get what I want when I want it, fear that what I have will be taken away, fear of what others might do to me if they knew what I had been up to . . .

My second fourth step covered almost all of the same topics as my first, but this time instead of saying “I am angry at my wife because she is distant and won’t talk to me” I was saying, “I am afraid my wife will leave me.”

One of the things we look at in the fourth and fifth step is what did we do, if anything, to cause others to treat us this way? In the example above, I had been an active raging alcoholic for years and she was sick of my selfish behavior and immaturity. In dealing with my anger to her reactions to my behavior, I learned to accept I cannot control her and that she had feelings of her own.

It was not until I could deal with the fear that I could then look at my behavior, my actions and see that what I had done in the past prompted my wife to treat me the way she did.

Fear is a good healthy instinct. It saves our lives when the other car lurches into our lane and suddenly we have the adrenaline to act: hit our brakes or the gas and get away. Fear is not healthy if ten hours later you are still shaking and saying to yourself, “Well, what are you going to do the next time a car enters your lane? It’ll hit me for sure.” That kind of fear will cripple me over the long term. That fear will prevent me from acting and I will wind up doing nothing and be in a worse position than if I had done something.

Most of the fears that occupied my mind had not even happened yet! They were all what ifs. What if my wife finds out about, what if my mom dies, what if I get in a wreck, what if I run out of booze and on and on. Living one day at a time helps immensely. What is wrong with right now? Nothing, so why not try living right now.

Fear is corrosive and will destroy anything gradually. How dangerous is fear? Look at history. Before the Germans hated the Jewish people, they feared them. They believed an endless stream of myths that Jewish people were greedy, that they stole from Germans, that they did not work, that they were the reason Germans lost the Great War. I won’t go into who fed the German people those lies or why. All I will say is that those falsehoods about the Jewish faith, culture and people were fed to them over and over and over again.

At some point the Germans began to believe the lies. Believing the lies they took action on those false beliefs and put in power a party to protect them from what they believed was a Jewish menace. Either actively or passively, they fostered, nurtured, encouraged and committed the Holocaust and twelve million people died, over six million of them Jewish.

This could have been stopped at any time by a willingness to face those fears squarely, see what the facts behind the fears were, deal with the anger and hate generated by those fears and taking action to banish those fears. The German people of that time period deserve the condemnation they get for not doing this.

Fear is very dangerous. Fear is a life and death emotion. Men don’t beat their wife and children because they are angry. They hit them because they are afraid of losing power and control over them.

At the end I didn’t drink because I enjoyed it. I drank because I was afraid not to, that I wouldn’t enjoy my life, that I would not have the courage to do new things, that I would not know how to handle things that happened to me.

One of the greatest gifts I got in AA was learning that I could face my fears and walk right through them without being hurt. That is because most fears are not true.

Right now my job is filling me with fear. The coming election fills me with fear. That is the reason I wrote this, to remind me that I have to get up, face my fears and take action to defeat them: put them on paper—name them, and then discuss them with another human being.

Good Morning Goddess Brigit, my name is Andy and I am an alcoholic. I have been kept sober since Imbolc 2001 by Your grace and Your grace alone. I’d like to take this moment to thank You, my Higher Power for my daily reprieve. Today is a good day to be sober.

Please, Great Mother, be with me today, all through the day and help me to stay sober all day long. Show me Your will for me and grant me the power to carry that out. Thy will, not mine be done. Inspire me to act and create in Your name. Be welcome in me and to me body, heart, mind and soul.

Adjuva Brigitta! Thank You! Blessed Be!